MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Adrian Peterson and a rock solid defense — That’s been the first place combination for the Vikings.

The latter is the product of head coach Mike Zimmer, a coach who is rather difficult to please.

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It’s about players making plays on defense, and this defense is coming together. It’s a culture, a belief system and a system that works.

So is the success about X’s and O’s or is it a mindset and a tenacity that you won’t get beat?

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I mean obviously guys have got to be in the right place and that’s where X’s and O’s come into place,” defensive end Brian Robison said. “But at the same time you have to have the mindset as far as whooping the guy in front of you.”

The architect is the head coach. Mike Zimmer loves a football chess match. He’s also big on everyone gets paid, so everyone better be able to play.

That includes back-ups who have to step in when a player in front of them gets injured.

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“That’s something that we preach around here all the time is that next man up if somebody goes down. That next guy needs to be able to step in and play at the caliber of a starter,” Antone Exum said.

Maybe one of the reasons the Vikings’ defense has been so good is that they’re striving for perfection. That comes from the head coach. Never, ever, ever be satisfied.

See even if you are a play-maker like Anthony Barr, the bar is set high. To please the coach, he’ll give a little praise.

“He’ll say good game, but it’s usually followed by a ‘but.’ It’s all good,” Barr said.

And that’s the feeling of the defense: Zimmer loves us, he just wants us to be perfect. Have they satisfied coach Zimmer?

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“Nah, not yet. It’s going to be hard to satisfy this guy. We’re going to have to have the Super Bowl trophy in our hands to satisfy him so he’s not satisfied at all,” Captain Munnerlyn said.